South Africa


Panyaza Lesufi primed for Gauteng premier as David Makhura steps down

Panyaza Lesufi primed for Gauteng premier as David Makhura steps down
Panyaza Lesufi is likely to take the reins as Gauteng premier after David Makhura announced on Tuesday that he was stepping aside. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo)

Hours after tendering his resignation as premier of SA’s richest province, David Makhura was applauded by ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa for his ‘well executed’ departure.

Gauteng’s more than 15 million residents will by the end of the week have a new premier following the departure of David Makhura, who has been at the helm of the province since 2014.

There has been no formal communication on who will succeed Makhura. The province is, however, expected to hold a special sitting on Thursday that will see a new premier sworn in. Newly elected Gauteng ANC chairperson Panyaza Lesufi is expected to take over.

ANC in Gauteng: The dawning of the Age of Panyaza Lesufi comes with problems, many big, difficult, painful problems

Makhura indicated his intention to vacate his position on Tuesday, Daily Maverick understands, with the hope of being elevated to a ministerial position and membership of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) ahead of the December elective conference.

Read more in Daily Maverick: The man, his role & his future: David Makhura at the crossroads that may go all the way to the Top Six

The NEC is comprised of 80 members and is the highest decision-making body between conferences. Nominations for the top six and NEC members will be completed at branch general meetings under the supervision of independent electoral officers.

Makhura has served the party in Gauteng for more than 22 years. On Tuesday, he handed his resignation letter to the Speaker of the legislature, Ntombi Mekgwe. His resignation as the Premier and as a member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature is effective from Thursday, 6 October 2022. 

“I was honoured to have been elected the 6th Premier of this beautiful province in May 2014 and re-elected in May 2019. I have served the people of Gauteng with humility, and utmost dedication and integrity through the eight years of my tenure,” a statement by Makhura said.

The move has long been in the pipeline as Makhura had indicated that he did not wish to be nominated or contest for any leadership position in Gauteng as early February this year, and again when the party held its 14th ANC provincial conference in June.

“I passed the baton to the newly elected leadership collective led by comrade Panyaza Lesufi. Having worked with many ANC leaders and activists in Gauteng to rebuild and position Gauteng as a significant player in the affairs of the movement and a country at large, I have always contemplated how best to ensure a smooth and seamless transition from the collective I lead in the PEC and in government in order to achieve maximum unity, continuity and change.

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“Consequently, I have held several engagements with the leadership of the ANC on the timing and details of the handover in order to ensure a smooth transition in the interest of our province and its people. The ANC has been seized with this matter over the past few weeks and has now completed its internal processes,” said Makhura.

Makhura first served as the coordinator of the interim leadership core in May 2000, was subsequently elected as the provincial secretary from 2001 to 2014, after which he was elected as deputy chairperson from 2014 to 2018. Lastly, he held the position of provincial chairperson from 2018 to 2022, while also serving as the premier. 

Makhura expressed his gratitude to faith-based organisations, organised business, civil society; sports bodies and the people of Gauteng for their unwavering support during his tenure. 

“Collectively we had challenges but counted many successes. I have no doubt of your continued support to the incoming leadership collective of our province,” he said.

New premier  

The decision on who will succeed Makhura lies with the ANC’s national officials. In a move which could possibly be premature, President Cyril Ramaphosa, while addressing the media on Tuesday, welcomed Lesufi as the new premier. 

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi slammed for peddling fake Covid-19 cure online

“We welcome the new premier, Panyaza Lesufi. He is up for the job as the new chairperson of Gauteng, he’s going to be well supported by the  members of the PEC and by the membership, so it is a smooth transition.  

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Wasteful, irregular, dangerous and probably corrupt: Gauteng’s Covid-19 splurge continues, this time in schools

“The premier has gone public himself saying he would be leaving, so there is no drama, it has all been well executed and we wish the premier well and we wish Makhura well too as he goes forward,” said Ramaphosa.

Makhura’s departure comes after the PEC decided to recall him earlier this month. PEC insiders at the time put up three names as possible replacements for Makhura. Topping the list is Lesufi, followed by deputy provincial secretary Tasneem Motara and provincial working committee member Kedibone Diale, SowetanLIVE reported.

Scandals under Makhura

Makhura presided over scandals. In 2021, parts of the province descended into chaos after protests over former president Jacob Zuma’s incarceration quickly developed into looting and destructive lawlessness.  

Rioters raided shopping malls and torched buildings, costing the province billions of rands.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Chaos, looting and mayhem wreak havoc in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng

Before that, the province was hit by a multimillion-rand personal protective equipment (PPE) scandal that rocked its department of health in 2020.

The scandal unfolded as the country went into Covid lockdown and it emerged that a close family friend of then Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku, had won a contract to provide PPE to the Gauteng Department of Health. 

That friend was the late Thandisizwe Diko, chief of the AmaBhaca. His wife was presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko. They were both close to Masuku and his wife, the ANC’s Johannesburg councillor Loyiso Masuku.

In the ensuing scandal, Khusela Diko had to go on long leave. After a long period of indecision, Bandile Masuku was eventually fired. Thandisizwe Diko died and Khusela Diko was moved to another portfolio, Daily Maverick reported. DM

The headline was amended at 8.25am on Octrober 5 to accurately reflect the contents of the news article.  


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • virginia crawford says:

    “Makhura has served the party in Gauteng for more than 22 years ” This says it all: not the residents and ratepayers but the party.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    Yep, Makhura legacy is a dysfunctional province that loadshed’s electric and water. Lesufi has nothing to compete with but watch this space. With a little effort, he’ll make things worse than anyone thought possible.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    Both Makhura and Lesufi fit well into the crooked organisation the ANC is. “Having served with integrity” as Makhura states is a slap to the face of any honest citizen. That a whistleblower got assassinated under his watch without any consequences demonstrates a total lack of integrity. The less said about Lesufi, the better.
    This country is full of good men and women yet we have gangsters running it.

  • talfrynharris says:

    Any hope to be found in Gauteng, and South Africa, will arise from the youth. Recycling of moegperd political “leaders” is just changing the deckchairs on the Titanic.

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    Lesufi is nothing but an illiterate labourer in a free suit.
    Nothing good can, or will come from his elevation to Premier.
    The good, performing, prosperous schools will be the first ones to go under the veneer of his moral bankruptcy.

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